I have talked recently about feeling slightly spazzy and frazzled and just flustrated.
Did anyone catch that? The use of the word flustrated? WHICH IS NOT A WORD, I REPEAT, IT IS NOT A WORD.
Flustered. Or frustrated. Not both.
Pet peeve, yo!
Anyway, I'm feeling a little calmer now that Husband's crazy time at work is done for the quarter. And I realized that I actually am getting organized because I cleaned up my recipe binder, which had not been touched in a full year, as in, not since Oliver was born. So things aren't anywhere near as chaotic as I was imagining. I guess being the sole person in charge of two kids for days on end can alter one's view of reality just a bit. (Moooooom, move here already! Heh.)
One of the areas I have been wanting to give more attention to is our budget, but MAN is that a drag. Not for Husband. He would delight in giving a ton of focus to the budget, perhaps even doing some spreadsheet fun. But I'm the main shopper so I'm the main spender. And I have been completely averse to tracking it all carefully.
After a high school Facebook friend happened to "like" a blog called 100 Days of Real Food last week, I used some of my spare time to check it out. It's absolutely right up my alley - organic, whole food-style of eating, but realistic. This author of the blog did a 100 day pledge to keep her food and household budget to $125/week, while still maintaining their usual diet of quality foods. It sparked something in me.
I decided that we are going to do same thing, but only for four weeks. To make it easier for me to keep track of things, I'm going to do a cash budget. This will keep it all very much in my face and force me to really think about our purchases. At first Husband made a face about me not using the credit card and continuing to earn precious points, but when I pointed out that I might end up saving us potentially hundreds of dollars versus earning points, he quickly changed his tune.
Right now I am very aware of the cost of some things - like I only buy frozen organic blueberries at Trader Joe's or Organic Valley milk at Lund's or Muir Glen tomatoes at Super Target. I know where I can get the lowest price for each of my very specific grocery items. But I also buy pretty much whatever I want. I am firmly on Team Leftovers and stay on top of the produce so it doesn't go bad before I get to it, but I need to be way more careful about what is coming into the house. We spend a horrifying amount of money on groceries given my own personal bent on buying local & organic, but it can just be a scary amount instead of horrifying.
Also? There has to be way less random alcohol & dessert purchases. If we want those things, we need to make sure they fit into the budget. They have to be enjoyed and not just bought because we want something in that moment. Same with take-out. If we are getting take-out, it better be thoroughly enjoyed.
So the plan, man:
$140 per week on groceries, household stuff, and alcohol
$20 per week on whatever I want (probably a coffee treat and a lunch out with the kids)
All in cash. I recognize that $140 might sound insane in terms of being a ton of money (or maybe not?) but quality, nutritious food is a huge priority so it is what it is. So far I am already down $48 after a trip to the co-op. I bought two organic apples and a locally-sourced kernel of corn. ORGANIC FOR LIFE!
Okay, bought more than that. It was three kernels of corn and the two apples. Full report & what we ate in a week.